A good start to October


Today’s guest picture is another from Dropscone’s highland holiday.  The weather wasn’t always what he would have wished but you can’t fault the views.


We had a fine and sunny day here today so October was very welcome.  The temperature is autumnal and the garden was quite soggy when we got up but it dried up nicely during the day.

I had a leisurely morning with the high spot being a visit to the Producers’ Market in the Buccleuch Centre to stock up on the necessities of life.  Fresh fish and vegetables, good cheese, properly looked after meat and local honey all disappeared into my shopping bag and I pedalled home on the slow bike (solid tyre, no punctures!) in a cheery mood.

There was any amount of dead heading to do as we try and keep the flowers going as long as possible.  Lillian Austin is flourishing with no help from me at all.

Lilian Austin

…and the poppies in front of the pond are standing up very well too.


I dead headed a hundred stems and then Mrs Tootlepedal went round and did all the ones that I had missed and then I went round and did the ones that she had missed.  What fun we had.

She is busy doing gardening at the moment and the morning’s project was replanting an azalea in a new place as part of a border redesign.  She digs these hefty shrubs up, carries them to their new home and puts them in with no help from me at all.  I just stand and marvel at the results.

The morning involved coffee and a crossword too and a moment to enjoy the sparrows at the feeder.


After lunch, I had another look out of the window….

dunnock and chaffinch
Neither the dunnocks or the chaffinches fly up to the feeder at the moment, just scavenging for scraps below.
chaffinch and blue tit
A chaffinch spent some time in the plum tree considering its options but a blue tit got stuck in straight away.

After a good deal of dithering, I finally got out the fairly speedy bike, cleaned the chain and set off for a ride.

Yesterday I had gone up the Wauchope road, turned left and and circled round to approach the town from the south.  Today I went up the Wauchope road, turned right, circled round and approached the town from the north.  As usual, my route choice was determined by wind direction as I always like to have a friendly wind on my way home.   It is good to have a choice of two rides of almost the same distance.

I had noticed patches of bright green lichens on one particular short stretch of wall on recent rides so I stopped today to record one of them.

Green lichen

This colour is not common round here where the walls are usually covered in grey or brown lichens.  Maybe different stone was used on this section of the wall.

A calf on the other side of the road had nothing to say on the matter.


The hills may be turning a bit brown but the cultivated grass fields are still as green as ever…

Looking back on the Wauchope road just after my right turn
Water of Milk
My road ahead following the valley of the Water of Milk

This road winds steadily uphill for most of its four miles and as it was into the wind today, I was pleased to arrive at Bailliehill….


…at the top of the hill where I turned right and followed the River Esk back to Langholm.

At Bailliehill there is a slightly mysterious pond and summerhouse.

Bailliehill pond

Both pond and structure were made quite recently but I have never seen any sign of life there.

My route home wasn’t helped quite as much by the wind as I had hoped that it would be but it wasn’t hindered by it at all so I rolled along the road home at a good speed for me.

When I got back, I found that not content with shifting the azalea, Mrs Tootlepedal had continued her work of garden improvement by levelling out the path from the drive to the front lawn.

garden path

As this involved shifting and re-laying several large and heavy concrete slabs, I was distinctly impressed.  The dahlias in the picture were among the plants dead headed this morning.  They were all grown from seed this year but some of them are making really good looking tubers and Mrs Tootlepedal is contemplating taking some of them up and keeping them over winter.

Before I had my after-ride cup of tea, I put the speedy bike away and then got the slow bike out and pedalled down to the riverside to see what I could see there.

headless flying bird
A headless flying bird….
herring gull
…turned out to be a herring gull

A very late family of ducks was swimming close to the river bank.


There were some fine clouds on the horizon…


…but nothing else came within range of my lens so I pedalled home past two fierce lions….

square pump
Water providers on a public pump in Buccleuch Square in times gone by

…and had my cup of tea.

A meal of fish and courgette fritters rounded off a good day very well.

The flowers of the day are two nasturtium caught in the damp morning….


…and the flying bird is a determined sparrow.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “A good start to October

  1. I was struck by how green the lichen was, I’ve never seen one approaching that color. The green fields looked quite nice as well.

    I liked the views from your ride today, as well as the wider views of the garden. Mrs T is an incredible woman to have shifted those large slabs by herself, I don’t think that I could have done that.

  2. I’ve never seen that lichen but I think it might be a map lichen (Rhizocarpon geographicum.) There is a yellow one that looks much like it.
    The views of the countryside are beautiful as always, and so is the cloud.
    As I’ve said before, Mrs. T. would have made an excellent professional gardener.

  3. The photos of the countryside and gardens are beautiful, as always.

    The lichen does look like Rhizocarpon geographicum. I was reading that a sample of this species of lichen was sent into space for 10 days to monitor any changes occurring during its time in orbit.

    Mrs. Tootlepedal is an amazing gardener, and she embroiders, too! Shifting ground is something we run into here quite a bit, between rainy season and dry season, gopher, mole and vole activity.

  4. Some intriguing photos- an isolated summerhouse, a pumped up cloud, two fine lions, a headless flying bird and slabs moved in a beautiful garden – surely all the elements for a fine novel!

  5. You have given us such a varied selection of photos and many lovely images. I liked the nasturtiums, the majestic cloud, the views from your cycle ride and of course Lillian Austin.

  6. The green lichen picture resembles a modernistic abstract painting! And I am impressed by the beauty of your fall garden.

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